TVWriter™ Television Writing Resources

Lately, TeamTVWriter has been happy dancing all over the place because the TVWriter™ site revamp has been so successful. Eyeballs! Eyeballs everywhere! (And not an optometrist on-site! Get it? Get it?)

But we digress…

There is, however, one teensy weensy fly in the ointment. An Acme Load O’New Visitors means half an Acme Load O’Peeps Who Probably Don’t Know All That We Have to Offer. Because we’re more than just hipsterish blog posts with spiffy pics of arcane people, places, things, thoughts, and ideas which, if you squint just right (there’s the eyeball thing again) can be related to our general topic of TV writing.

We’re the First All Television Writing All the Time resource on the web. Having been around since the mid-’90s.

Almost 20 years?

Yikes!

We’re also the only television writing site on the web presided over by someone with the zillions (okay, we exaggerate just a little) of writing and producing credits of Our Feckless Leader, Good Ole…um…who? Oh, right, LB. The guy’s been around. Done just about everything. Knows or is known by everyone (okay, so there’s that minimal exaggeration thingie again).

What we’re trying to say is that in addition to what’s in our posts, there also is a mountain of info on our pages, and we hope you’ll avail yourselves of the info and insight available on in the Index to the right of every entry. Including:

And don’t forget this baby:

Check us out. All of us.

John Cleese on Creativity

What? You’ve got someone who knows more?

4 LESSONS IN CREATIVITY FROM JOHN CLEESE
by Rae Ann Fera

There’s a certain generation (or two) that owes its twisted, awkward, scorchingly black sense humor to John Cleese. Famous for his work with the Monty Python films and television series, the BBC comedy Fawlty Towers, as well as feature films like A Fish Called Wanda, the writer, actor, comedian and film producer knows from funny.

But he also knows a thing or two about wrestling the creative beast, which is the topic Cleese was invited to speak about at last week’s Cannes International Festival of Creativity. Addressing a group of attendees from the Havas Media group, Cleese brought a storytelling flair to the topic of the creative process, something he’s been discussing for decades through his educational video company Video Arts, sharing tales of writing mishaps and lessons learned from leading creative and scientific minds.

Through a series of stories, Cleese spoke of the importance of succumbing to the unconscious mind, two key traits possessed by highly successful creative people, the necessity of allowing for contemplative thinking, and why all of these together result in creative breakthroughs. He touched on the points raised in his much-discussed 1991 lecture, but rounded them out and introduced new ones (plus, this piece won’t take you 36 minutes to read). Here are those stories.

Read it all

If you think we’re going to argue with this guy, you’re %$#@! nuts wrong. We have neither the courage nor the creativity for that.

Anyone Remember “Confessionals?”

It was a genre, way back in the day. Fallen out of favor now. Replaced by Exploitative Memoirs. But the following, by a Utah man, may bring ’em back…with a vengeance:

Dead man confesses all in self-written obituary
by Sun News

A Utah man took his secrets to the grave – but confessed them in his obituary.

Val Patterson, of Salt Lake City, died of throat cancer on July 10, at the age of 59. The death notice he wrote for himself appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune this past Sunday.

“Now that I have gone to my reward, I have confessions and things I should now say,” Patterson wrote.
He starts out admitting to a crime.

“As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June 1971. I wanted to get it off my chest.”

Then he reveals that the PhD on his wall was mailed to him as the result of a paperwork error. In fact, he never even graduated.

“For all of the electronic engineers I have worked with,
I’m sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engineered, and I always made you laugh at work.”

In the lighthearted letter, which runs nearly 900 words long, Patterson describes a fun and fulfilling life, and thanks his friends, family and pets.

Patterson’s wife of 33 years, Mary Jane, told KSL News every word of it is true.

In a final act of contrition, Patterson tells Disneyland and SeaWorld San Diego they can throw away the “banned for life” files they have on him.

“I’m not a problem anymore.”

Read it all

Now this is writing! Brilliant. We absolutely are going to do this. We have to.

But not for a very long time.

We hope.

Starting Your Own Series on a Shoestring

Yes, it can be done. Check out this mucho helpful article from CliqueclackTV on various types of interweb video series and how to start them:

Drinking is the new writing…just ask these drinkers writers

Tired of TV? Create your own web series! – Monthly Musings
by An Nicholson

Although I think today’s TV is pretty good, it can improve. If you aren’t satisfied with network/cable shows, create your own! With today’s inexpensive technology and the multiple opportunities available through the internet, public access TV, campus TV, and local radio, you have NO excuse to NOT contribute to the creative TV landscape.

To provide suggestions for the fledgling web creator or student producer, I tapped the awesome Joe Wilson, writer/director of the kickbutt web series Vampire Mob and our own Katie Schenkel, who runs the movie review vlog, Just Plain Something.

Click on page two for Joe’s suggestions for starting your own web series, page three for Katie’s suggestions regarding creating your own vlog, and page four for my five cents on starting your own campus/public access TV show.

Read it all

Writing for Children’s Shows

Writing for Kids’ TV
by Danny Stack

It’s odd that the genre of kids’ TV is often overlooked by screenwriting events, seminars and the so-called gurus. It’s also rare to meet a writer who aspires to write for kids’ TV.

Why is this the case? Perhaps it’s because kids’ TV is for, well, kids. And maybe there’s a misplaced notion that writing for kids must be simple compared to primetime drama or feature films. Or that there’s not much kudos involved in writing for the genre.

If this is the case, then it’s an erroneous point-of-view. Writing for kids’ TV is challenging, fun, and profitable. It also requires the same amount of screenwriting skill and craft as writing any other drama. In some instances, it’s actually much harder because you’ll often be expected to write a funny script. No post-modern cultural references, intellectual quips or self-reflective wit, just make the script funny through the characters and story. No pressure.

Writing for kids is the purest form of storytelling because it’s free of ego and cynicism. Kids don’t care if you’re Russell T Davies. They only care if Russell T Davies tells them a good story. An idea that grabs. A story with a sense of urgency. Characters who we really care about. A plot with unpredictable twists and turns. Think kids aren’t sophisticated and can’t see a twist from a mile away? Think again.

Read it all

Not only are we glad to have found this, we’re happy to have made the acquaintance of Mr. Stack’s most excellent blog!